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Thread: Spock's Beard - Noise Floor

  1. #76
    Progdog ThomasKDye's Avatar
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    New review (completely over-the-top writing-wise, but at least it gives you an idea what to expect):

    https://progreport.com/spocks-beard-...-album-review/
    "Arf." -- Frank Zappa, "Beauty Knows No Pain" (live version)

  2. #77
    All-night hippo at diner Tom's Avatar
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    ^ Well, there's a reviewer who really loves "The Beard" (as he repeatedly calls them). Hard to peer through the thick syrup of praise to grasp what the album is really like, for me.
    ... “there’s a million ways to learn” (which there are, by the way), but ironically, there’s a million things to eat, I’m just not sure I want to eat them all. -- Jeff Berlin

  3. #78
    Member Top Cat's Avatar
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    Just read over at The Laser's Edge, the release of Noise Floor has been delayed.
    From the Laser's Edge site...."The US pressing of Spock's Beard "Noise Floor" hit a production snafu so the street date for the CD has been bumped to June 8th. This doesn't affect the vinyl street date which is still set for May 25th".
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    I am sorry if I am asking a question that has already been asked earlier. I see that there are US and import versions of the new album. Is there any reason to buy the import version over US version at all?


    Library Jon

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    Quote Originally Posted by Library Jon View Post
    I am sorry if I am asking a question that has already been asked earlier. I see that there are US and import versions of the new album. Is there any reason to buy the import version over US version at all?


    Library Jon
    Not that I know of except you might get it sooner (see previous post). I'm not aware of any bonus track or other difference if that was your question.

  6. #81
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    Listening now on Tidal for the first time. I am so disappointed they haven't or aren't releasing this in Hi Rez 96/24 which is the way it was recorded and mixed. What a goddamn shame !

    It's just found $$ for them anyway. They have the master already for the vinyl anyway.

    Bah humbug !!!

  7. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by Library Jon View Post
    I am sorry if I am asking a question that has already been asked earlier. I see that there are US and import versions of the new album. Is there any reason to buy the import version over US version at all?


    Library Jon
    They are identical other than the cost.

  8. #83
    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by progmeister View Post
    I am so disappointed they haven't or aren't releasing this in Hi Rez 96/24 which is the way it was recorded and mixed. What a goddamn shame !
    Bah humbug !!!
    That would be an InsideOut label policy. Said label releases Hi-Res quality on vinyl only, not through direct digital files. When Spock's Beard released the Hi-Res file version of Brief Nocturnes on Bandcamp, they were self releasing without label support.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

  9. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by progmatist View Post
    That would be an InsideOut label policy. Said label releases Hi-Res quality on vinyl only, not through direct digital files. When Spock's Beard released the Hi-Res file version of Brief Nocturnes on Bandcamp, they were self releasing without label support.
    Inside Out does indeed release hi res. 2 recent examples are Sons of Apollo in 48/24 and the new Lunatic Soul that came out yesterday in 44.1/24.

  10. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by progmeister View Post
    Inside Out does indeed release hi res. 2 recent examples are Sons of Apollo in 48/24 and the new Lunatic Soul that came out yesterday in 44.1/24.
    Also not to start a cat fight but vinyl is anything but hi res.

  11. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by progmeister View Post
    Inside Out does indeed release hi res. 2 recent examples are Sons of Apollo in 48/24 and the new Lunatic Soul that came out yesterday in 44.1/24.
    Lunatic Soul is not an Inside Out Music release.

  12. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by LASERCD View Post
    Lunatic Soul is not an Inside Out Music release.
    Ok Prince of Pork. mea cupa.

    But the Kansas studio album, Last John Wesley, Long Distance Calling, and others are all on HD Tracks and other online vendors.

  13. #88
    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by progmeister View Post
    Inside Out does indeed release hi res. 2 recent examples are Sons of Apollo in 48/24 and the new Lunatic Soul that came out yesterday in 44.1/24.
    I totally forgot about the albums on HDTracks, like Kayak's Seventeen which I just purchased a couple of weeks ago. However, they only include the bands/artists who would tend to be more popular. Hopefully the latest Spock's Beard will qualify in that respect.

    Quote Originally Posted by progmeister View Post
    Also not to start a cat fight but vinyl is anything but hi res.
    Modern vinyls are cut from either the original analog tapes (for classic albums), or the original Hi-Res source. I would defy you to name any modern vinyl cut from the downsampled 16bit source, created exclusively for CD or MP3 production.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

  14. #89
    Progdog ThomasKDye's Avatar
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    OK, here's my review of the album.

    It's better than "The Oblivion Particle," but not quite as good as "Brief Encounters and Dreamless Sleep." The songs aren't quite as strong or as hooky as past SB songs, but they do have their moments, and the playing is ferociously powerful. Ryo, in particular, is ON FIRE. I can't say anything else. He's using more unusual sounds and voicings, and his Hammond-work is impeccable. He's fierce, he's fast, he's amazing. Alan is doing a fine job of keeping up, and it's nice to hear the Dave Meros/NDV rhythm section providing more-than-able backup. I may just have to say that, while I know he's a fine singer, Ted Leonard may be "the weak link." There's no "bottom end" to his vocal sound, so what he's singing tends not to register as much, especially when the instrumental work is so dynamic.

    "To Breathe Another Day" -- this was prereleased, and it's a pretty good way for the album to open. I like the chorus and the solo sections quite a bit.

    "What Becomes Of Me" -- this song meanders a bit and didn't register much with me. I began to worry here.

    "Somebody's Home" -- this was released early as well. It's grown on me. I think the others may be growers too, based on how this song has done so.

    "Have We All Gone Crazy Yet" -- Not bad. It has a sort of SB formula to it at the end with another anthemic "Waiting For Me"/"Carry On" style coda. The middle section begins the experimentation with unusual sounds, particularly with Alan's guitar. This one has promise to grow on me intensely.

    "So This Is Life" -- not sure how the diehard prog fan will relate to this, but I liked it a lot. A very mellow psychedelic float downstream, with languid keys and a mellow performance by Ted Leonard.

    "One So Wise" -- Again, not much to this that I could remember, but the musicianship is again excellent and helps "save" it somewhat.

    "Box Of Spiders" -- All right, this may be the most manic SB instrumental ever. Gentle Giant/Zappa on speed. It never lets up -- there's no slow section or repeated jam. It's just a huge polyrhythmic bag of crazy. Ryo's using wild sounds again (alert: for those who hate Jordan Rudess's ragtime piano, there's even a brief section of that) and everyone else is all over the map. The introduction gives you a taste of it, with Dave and Ryo doing a synchronized bass-organ run over a steady "Tubular Bells" keyboard riff. Quite amazing.

    "Beginnings" -- A dramatic intro, an epic close. After "Box" we probably needed to get back to something like this.

    "Days We'll Remember" -- nice if unremarkable acoustic ballad.

    "Bulletproof" -- I really liked this, it's a very powerful prog-pop number that gave me goosebumps. I felt like this needed to be on the main album, really.

    "Vault" -- decent number that may grow on me.

    "Armageddon Nervous" -- ANOTHER crazy instrumental though nowhere near as nutty as "Box." It's almost as if they wanted to make a math-rock album all along but figured they should write songs as well.

    So I realize this isn't the most glowing review. I was coming down from the intense majesty of Kino's "Radio Voltaire" when I listened to it. This album's not really much in that league, so I may need to let it grow on me more. "The Oblivion Particle" never did but I feel quite optimistic that I'll enjoy this after a few more listens. It's kind of like my reaction to "The Last Jedi" -- I wanted it to knock my socks off, but instead it just provided a satisfactory comfort-entertainment level.
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  15. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasKDye View Post
    OK, here's my review of the album.

    It's better than "The Oblivion Particle," but not quite as good as "Brief Encounters and Dreamless Sleep." The songs aren't quite as strong or as hooky as past SB songs, but they do have their moments, and the playing is ferociously powerful. Ryo, in particular, is ON FIRE. I can't say anything else. He's using more unusual sounds and voicings, and his Hammond-work is impeccable. He's fierce, he's fast, he's amazing. Alan is doing a fine job of keeping up, and it's nice to hear the Dave Meros/NDV rhythm section providing more-than-able backup. I may just have to say that, while I know he's a fine singer, Ted Leonard may be "the weak link." There's no "bottom end" to his vocal sound, so what he's singing tends not to register as much, especially when the instrumental work is so dynamic.


    So I realize this isn't the most glowing review. I was coming down from the intense majesty of Kino's "Radio Voltaire" when I listened to it. This album's not really much in that league, so I may need to let it grow on me more. "The Oblivion Particle" never did but I feel quite optimistic that I'll enjoy this after a few more listens. It's kind of like my reaction to "The Last Jedi" -- I wanted it to knock my socks off, but instead it just provided a satisfactory comfort-entertainment level.
    Been looking forward to this, so thank you for taking the time to write such detailed song by song first impressions.
    Some of what you've written were my thoughts as well from listening to the two songs which have been released so far.
    Still sounds like a keeper to me, and I'm going to go ahead and order it, it is after all Spock's Beard, and I think many times their songs/albums grow on me anyway.
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  16. #91
    Quote Originally Posted by progmatist View Post
    Modern vinyls are cut from either the original analog tapes (for classic albums), or the original Hi-Res source. I would defy you to name any modern vinyl cut from the downsampled 16bit source, created exclusively for CD or MP3 production.
    Don't be so sure. I cannot name names, as that would break a confidence, but a trusted label owner I know told me, a year or so ago, that when he brought a hard drive with high res files to a vinyl plant for use in cutting vinyl, that he was told "wow, you have no idea how many people are sending us MP3s for their vinyl releases."

    So, I'm not going to name that name, and he didn't have anything more about what possible vinyl titles are being cut from MP3s, but it sure sounds like it's happening more frequently than we might like to think.

    Since I had to eliminate vinyl when we downsized back in 2000, this has no impact on me, of course (other than that I can't play the two vinyl boxes for which I contributed liners...but both provided links to downloads), but truthfully, I don't miss it.

    I've spoken to too many label owners who have told me everything from there being no substantial evidence to justify 180g over 150g vinyl, to their releasing vinyl only because of demand, because with today's digital to analog (and vice versa) conversion, if a CD or higher res format cannot be superior to vinyl, then they're doing something wrong.

    That said, I still believe there is value in vinyl, but for a different reason that I may or may not have posted before, so if I have, my apologies. Vinyl's value, in today's landscape of streaming, ability to skip tracks with the press of a button, etc, is that it returns music listening to being an active thing. You want to listen to it, you've gotta be prepared to get up and switch sides every 20 minutes or so...which, for those used to sitting on the couch and driving everything from a remote, makes music listening a more engaging activity. Also, the very same laziness that allows folks to skip past a track at the push of a button because after 10 seconds, they don't like it, means that if they're listening to it on vinyl, they'd have to get up to change the track manually. This means they might listen to the track and discover: (a) that it's actually a pretty darn good track after all; or (b) even if it isn't a great track on its own, its placement on the album, sandwiched between two other tracks, might make it absolutely the right music for that point on the album.

    I'm not knocking folks who love vinyl; I'm just saying that it's hard for me to believe that vinyl is actually a better medium than what we potentially have today. Between great DACs, high resolution media (both downloadable and things like SACD and Blu Ray Audio) and the ability to make truly warm and more dynamically broad CDs, my opinion now is that if a CD doesn't sound good, then someone has done something wrong, whether it's at the recording, mixing or mastering stage.

    And, whether your medium of choice is vinyl, CD, SACD, BR, download....whatever....at the end of the day you are at the mercy of those who record, mix and master. I've bought SACDs that completely suck when compared to a regular CD, and have heard BR turn even stereo mixes into far more immersive and organic experiences. Ultimately, it all depends on who's twiddling those knobs.....so now, I try to pay attention to who is doing the mastering, as that seems to be where things most often go awry.

    Just my two (or more) cents, and only because you challenged the quality of vinyl sources. Sadly, no matter what the medium, there are those who take the easy way out...and, on the other hand, those who strive to do everything right. The problem is it's not always easy to know until you've actually heard it....and by then, you've already spent your money.

    And sorry to go offtrack. Me? I've got the press download of the SB album (and some other upcoming IO releases), but I'm a little less excited because they are MP3s. I understand why they feel they must do this, but at the end of the day, whether or not I review a title, I always want to hear the full format version, in my case either on some 5" platter variant or as a CD quality or better download.

    But I really should give that new Spock a spin...I think I'll go do it now....!!
    John Kelman
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  17. #92
    cunning linguist 3LockBox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    That said, I still believe there is value in vinyl, but for a different reason that I may or may not have posted before, so if I have, my apologies. Vinyl's value, in today's landscape of streaming, ability to skip tracks with the press of a button, etc, is that it returns music listening to being an active thing. You want to listen to it, you've gotta be prepared to get up and switch sides every 20 minutes or so...which, for those used to sitting on the couch and driving everything from a remote, makes music listening a more engaging activity. Also, the very same laziness that allows folks to skip past a track at the push of a button because after 10 seconds, they don't like it, means that if they're listening to it on vinyl, they'd have to get up to change the track manually. This means they might listen to the track and discover: (a) that it's actually a pretty darn good track after all; or (b) even if it isn't a great track on its own, its placement on the album, sandwiched between two other tracks, might make it absolutely the right music for that point on the album.
    My 22yr old daughter will attest to this^
    Who'd a thunk? Vinyl saves the album as art format... but yeah, Pollyannic thinking to assume new vinyl is only cut from original analog tapes or hi-rez sources... and monkeys might fly outta my butt

  18. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by progmatist View Post
    I totally forgot about the albums on HDTracks, like Kayak's Seventeen which I just purchased a couple of weeks ago. However, they only include the bands/artists who would tend to be more popular. Hopefully the latest Spock's Beard will qualify in that respect.

    Modern vinyls are cut from either the original analog tapes (for classic albums), or the original Hi-Res source. I would defy you to name any modern vinyl cut from the downsampled 16bit source, created exclusively for CD or MP3 production.

    John Wesley's last album on Inside Out was released to HD Tracks and other online vendors in 96/24. It has nothing to do with sales expectations. It costs NO money for Inside Out or other labels to release music Hi Res. It is strictly an artist's decision and unfortunately a great many of them are ignorant to its value. Neal Morse's "Similtude.." is infinitely better in 48/24 then it is in 44.1/16. A total revelation.

    I'm sorry guys. I know this debate is endless but vinyl is not capable of producing hi resolution music. It is after all a piece of metal scraping a piece of plastic. I have listened to records on the vaunted Linn LP12 and it still had lopped off bottom, smeared mids, and strident hi's.
    It's pure nostalgia for those of us that grew up cleaning seeds out of ancient marijuana in gatefold sleeves. It is a piece of merch like a T shirt or a coffee mug

  19. #94
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    BREAKING NEWS!!!

    Spock 96/24 Hi Rez master will be up on HD Tracks and other online vendors in the next couple of weeks

  20. #95
    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by progmeister View Post
    I'm sorry guys. I know this debate is endless but vinyl is not capable of producing hi resolution music. It is after all a piece of metal scraping a piece of plastic. I have listened to records on the vaunted Linn LP12 and it still had lopped off bottom, smeared mids, and strident hi's.
    It's pure nostalgia for those of us that grew up cleaning seeds out of ancient marijuana in gatefold sleeves. It is a piece of merch like a T shirt or a coffee mug
    If you're speaking in terms of the ultra-wide frequency response and dynamic range, you're absolutely right...vinyl is far from hi-res. However, that's not where the true differences between CDs and hi-res lie. There are 2 major TRUE advantages: 1) The mix as a whole sounds more open and transparent. Even the reverb sounds lighter and airier, whereas it sounds muddier and more dense on a CD. 2) Every instrument within the mix sounds larger and more prominent. It's easier to identify each and every instrument within the mix. In CD format, the background instruments have more of a tendency to meld together. Vinyl shares these advantages, so they transfer extremely well when a vinyl is cut from a hi-res source.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

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    Shame that the album has been out for a few days and it's not even discussed in its own thread. Can we get back on topic please, audiophiles can move to the Hoffman forum thank you.

  22. #97
    Well, I listened to the whole main disc yesterday while driving in the car, and enjoyed it pretty well. It definitely sounds like a couple of steps up from The Oblivion Particle, IMO. With the exception of "Bennett Built a Time Machine", which I think is a great track, not much else stuck with me on Oblivion. This one immediately made more a of a connection with me, and "One So Wise" is a very cool song.

  23. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by progmeister View Post
    BREAKING NEWS!!!

    Spock 96/24 Hi Rez master will be up on HD Tracks and other online vendors in the next couple of weeks
    Oh you mean the files the vinyl was cut from?

  24. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by LASERCD View Post
    Oh you mean the files the vinyl was cut from?
    Yep. But now you'll actually be able to play it back in a format that can actually reproduce Hi Res.

    Oh I forgot....you wanted the gold vinyl edition so you had something to show off on instagram

  25. #100
    Quote Originally Posted by progmatist View Post
    If you're speaking in terms of the ultra-wide frequency response and dynamic range, you're absolutely right...vinyl is far from hi-res. However, that's not where the true differences between CDs and hi-res lie. There are 2 major TRUE advantages: 1) The mix as a whole sounds more open and transparent. Even the reverb sounds lighter and airier, whereas it sounds muddier and more dense on a CD. 2) Every instrument within the mix sounds larger and more prominent. It's easier to identify each and every instrument within the mix. In CD format, the background instruments have more of a tendency to meld together. Vinyl shares these advantages, so they transfer extremely well when a vinyl is cut from a hi-res source.
    As someone who buys a lot of high res in various formats, I'd have to agree with you...as a general rule. But I will say that it assumes everything has been done right. Like I said before, I've bought SACDs trounced by a CD. Because if the person who does the mastering for the SACD does a shite job, no matter how good the medium is intrinsically, it will, indeed, sound like shite.

    I think it's important to know that just because something is high res does not mean it's guaranteed to be better. It should be, but it isn't always.
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